Alba: Madrid still in title race

Jordi Alba has insisted that Barcelona “are not discarding” Real Madrid from the La Liga title race, despite his side possessing “a very good lead” at the top.

Goals from Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique earned Barca a 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday to move 12 points clear of Madrid, who lost 1-0 to city rivals Atletico Madrid a day earlier – a result which prompted Zinedine Zidane to write off his team’s chances of domestic glory.

Nevertheless, the left-back said after the Catalans’ win: “We’re not discarding Madrid [from the title race].

“It’s a very good lead, we won’t lie, but if we lose a game, [Madrid and Atleti] are very good teams who will push us until the end.

“It’s an important advantage, but we have to continue until the end.

“We’re ahead by a very big difference in points and it’s clear that we depend on ourselves.

“I was lucky to be trained by Unai Emery, and he prepares games to perfection. It’s always very difficult to beat an Unai team.

“I haven’t heard Cristiano [Ronaldo’s] comments, but I can say that we’re a close-knit unit at Barca and no-one thinks they’re better than anyone.

“There are individuals who make a difference, but we feel as one. I can’t talk about other teams.

“[On Messi’s goal], it was another free kick for his collection. He’s a star, the best in the world and every day he surprises us more.

“It’ll be a great [Copa del Rey] final, and hopefully the winners are Barca. As I said, Emery teams prepare for matches very well.

“When you don’t play all that well, the most important thing is to win.

“I think we’ve played very good football this year and last year. You can’t always do so, but we’re having a very good season.”

Tags Jordi Alba